Should Repeat Sex Offenders Get Death Penalty? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/16/07

Should Repeat Sex Offenders Get Death Penalty?

Texas executes more inmates than any other state, and now, more criminals could be headed to death row. The Texas Legislature is considering a bill that would make repeat sex offenders eligible for the death penalty.

Smith County DA Matt Bingham says the idea has some real merit.

"In my opinion, people commit these kinds of offenses and pick children as their victims with no regard for how this is going to affect the rest of their lives, or the trauma they're going to endure. I don't have any problem with those people getting the death penalty at all," says Bingham.

Five other states already have death penalty laws for sex offenders including Florida, Montana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. It's part of a wave of get-tough-on-crime legislation spurred on by the disappearance of 9 year old Jessica Lunsford 20 months ago. 
However, some children's rights advocates like those at the Children's Advocacy Center in Tyler say they are worried about the unintended consequences of such a bill.

Carol Langston with the CAC says, "I think there is a fear that if the death penalty is enacted for sex offenders that it is probably more likely that there will not be a conviction, and also, a fear that the abuser might kill the child in order to keep them from testifying against the abuser."

The advocacy center has worked with law makers to get other bills introduced which would include mandatory longer sentences for first time sex offenders and eliminate the possibility of parole. It's two very different proposals both aimed at stopping sex crimes in our state.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

 

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